Family members of three of the victims of a fatal elevator crash at a Phnom Penh building site last week said Sunday that they had accepted compensation from the construction company and would not file complaints with police.
Four men had been on board the crude elevator at the 11-story condominium in Chamkar Mon district’s Tuol Tumpoung II commune on Thursday morning when its cable snapped, sending them plummeting four stories.
Two of the men, construction worker Vann Saroeun, 18, and coffee seller Ly Long, 41, died at the scene, while another laborer, Mead Soeung, 16, succumbed to his injuries at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. Only Ath Heab, an 18-year-old construction worker, survived. His right arm was completely severed in the crash and he remains in critical condition at the hospital.
Commune police chief Ing Dara said the construction company had compensated the families of the deceased men and Mr. Heab. He said he did not know the name of the firm, nor the amount of compensation paid.
Bin Socchy, deputy director of the municipal land management department, also said he did not know the company’s name. “The construction site will remain closed until the case has been resolved,” he said.
A press release posted to the department’s Facebook page identified the owner of the building as Ung Chunkeng.
Nhem Oeng, 58, the father of Mr. Heab, said Sunday that a representative of the construction company paid his family $8,000 on Saturday.
“I decided not to file a complaint [with police] because the company offered compensation to cover the treatment of my son,” he said.
Muon Phiek, 29, the sister of Mead Soeung, said the company paid her $15,000 on the evening of the accident, along with $700 to cover funeral expenses and the cost of transporting her teenage brother’s body to her family home in Kompong Thom province.
Ly Long’s widow, Kang Chanthou, 41, said the company offered her far less, just $1,100 in compensation for the coffee seller’s death.
“[The company] said my husband did not work at the site and should not have been at the site,” she said.
All of the family members said they were told not to name the construction company, and were not planning to file complaints with police. Relatives of Vann Saroeun could not be reached.
Chea Meth, a deputy prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court who visited the construction site on Thursday, said Sunday that even if the victims’ families did not file complaints, the court’s investigation into the elevator crash would continue.
“We are still investigating,” he said. “We will decide whether we have to lay charges or not, whether it is unintentional murder or something else.”